Arkansas Lawyer Pleads Guilty to $47 Million Ponzi Scheme

An Arkansas lawyer pled guilty to a Ponzi scheme thought to be the largest fraud in Arkansas state history.  Kevin Lewis, 43, entered a guilty plea to a single charge of bank fraud in an Arkansas District Court.  While the charge carries a potential maximum prison sentence of thirty years, it is thought that Lewis will likely receive a sentence between ten and thirteen years.  Additionally, Lewis is also likely to be ordered to pay restitution to his victims.  

Lewis's scheme entailed the issuance of paperwork for false rural improvement bonds to several Arkansas banks.  The bonds were not registered in Arkansas, and were used by Lewis as collateral to receive financing from banks.  The scheme resulted in at least one bank, First Southern Bank, being placed into federal receivership after having purchased nearly $23 million of the fake bonds.  Lewis had obtained majority ownership of the bank through the use of fraudulent proceeds of a previous bond sale to another bank.    Instead of developing the property described in the bonds, Lewis used the financing for personal and business expenses.  Losses from Lewis's fraud are currently estimated at $40 million.

A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.